La guerre des mots

De nos jours, les mots sont souvent perçus comme étant une source d’instabilité. Les violentes réactions suscitées par la publication de caricatures du prophète Mahomet dans un quotidien danois l’an dernier ont donné lieu à une réponse confuse des pays occidentaux, dont les gouvernements ont tenté de définir ce que les médias pouvaient ou ne pouvaient pas faire au nom de la satire politique. Ensuite, l’Iran a surenchéri en organisant une conférence sur la négation de l’Holocauste, une initiative qui serait poursuivie par la justice dans la plupart des pays européens.

Comme le savent bien les Turcs, il est dangereux de prendre position sur le génocide arménien de 1915. Le dernier prix Nobel de littérature, Orhan Pamuk, a été mis en examen à Istanboul pour avoir contredit la version officielle de l’histoire turque en disant que le génocide avait bien eu lieu. D’autres Turcs se sont exposés à des poursuites judiciaires en Europe de l’Ouest pour l’avoir nié.

Les mots sont aujourd’hui devenus un champ de bataille dans le conflit culturel opposant l’Islam à l’Occident. Les pays occidentaux ont appris que l’autocensure et non un décret juridique devait inciter les journaux et autres médias à ne pas diffuser de caricatures de Mahomet et le pape à ne plus faire de commentaires critiques sur l’islam. Mais ces gestes de bonne volonté envers les sensibilités islamistes n’ont pas eu de contrepartie.

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